The Waldorf-Astoria Has a Spy Problem
The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel has housed presidents and top American officials since 1947, but now US officials are staying clear due to their “reservations” with the hotel’s new owners. Now owned by Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group, fears of espionage are forcing President Obama, his top aides and staff to stay at the South Korean-owned New York Palace Hotel during the UN General Assembly this month.
President Obama and Secretary Kerry have stayed away from the Waldorf since Anbang bought the hotel for $1.95B (cash!) last year. Concerns only escalated when the hotel announced “a major renovation” that (the government fears) may include eavesdropping and cyber-espionage tech. Kerry’s schedule for this year’s UN Assembly shows no meetings at the Waldorf.
The White House and State Department have claimed the decision was based on space, costs and security concerns, but the State Department is also considering moving the US' UN ambassador away from the Waldorf as well when its lease ends next year. They have also issued warnings to American travelers who plan to stay in China, saying that hacking and security threats remain a concern. [Crain's]